In response to reports that Barack Obama is likely to choose Chuck Hagel to be the next secretary of defense, a top Republican Senate aide emails, "Send us Hagel and we will make sure every American knows he is an anti-Semite."
When asked to elaborate, the aide writes, "Hagel has made clear he believes in the existence of a nefarious Jewish lobby that secretly controls U.S. foreign policy. This is the worst kind of anti-Semitism there is."
The top aide Republican Senate aide passes along this quotation from Hagel: “The political reality is that … the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.”
The quotation attributed to Hagel appeared in Aaron David Miller's 2008 book The Too Much Promised Land.
The Washington Examiner, however, reports that Hagel (and John Kerry, if he's nominated to be secretary of state) will breeze through the nominating process:
The growing possibility of President Obama naming Democratic Sen. John Kerry as secretary of State and former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel to run the Pentagon is being embraced by Senate Republicans who predict confirmation.
"I think both of them will be questioned vigorously but confirmed," said a top GOP Senate aide, meaning the GOP won't put up a fight in the Democratically-controlled chamber. That will be a key selling point as Obama considers his choices.
Reports emerged Thursday that Hagel, a Vietnam vet from Nebraska, was the frontrunner to replace exiting Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.